These Days, Even a Michelin Star Chef Has to Sell Takeout
For nearly three years, the chef T.J. Steele refused to offer delivery at Claro, his Michelin star restaurant in Brooklyn.
But because of the coronavirus, Mr. Steele has had to make some compromises to stay in business. He has signed up with two delivery companies—Grubhub and Caviar. He has created a menu that eschews complex, hard-to-deliver items like tuna tostada in favor of homey offerings like chicken.
Before the coronavirus made delivery a necessity, restaurants across the country — from mom-and-pops to major chains like McDonald’s — were slowly beginning to reinvent themselves as logistics operations, using software to track orders on different delivery platforms or experimenting with containers and menu items designed to travel.
Now, what began as a steady evolution is taking place at warp speed, as even chefs and owners who had long resisted delivery, like Mr. Steele, adapt to the pandemic.
Even as deliveries have ballooned the last few years, their quality has been inconsistent. Many restaurants consider delivery apps a necessary evil because of the large third-party commissions. And some restaurants lack the infrastructure to execute a successful delivery business.
Analysts estimate that 75 percent of independent restaurants that have been closed to protect Americans from the virus won’t survive the crisis.